BRUINS WILL FACE HUMBOLDT BRONCOS IN QUARTERFINALS
One night after the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins clinched their third-straight Viterra Division title, they would end their season with their 31st win in a 5-3 victory over the Weyburn Red Wings at Affinity Place.
The Bruins’ faithful showed up in a big way on the final Saturday of the regular season with an 18/19-high of 1,836 fans in attendance.
While the result of the game had no affect on the Bruins position in the standings, it would be a hugely important game for Weyburn as they entered play in a tie with Melville (who would lose to Yorkton 7-2 on Saturday) for the 10th and final playoff spot.
The first period would prove to be a defensive battle with both Estevan goaltender Grant Boldt and Weyburn goaltender Cody Levesque shutting the door, that is until the final seconds.
At the 19:55 mark, Bruins forward Will Koop would fire in his 12th of the season (3rd goal in last two games) to give Estevan a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Tyson Manz and Tristyn Deroose, back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension, assisted on the goal.
The Bruins would get themselves into penalty trouble early in the 2nd period with Weyburn earning an extended 5-on-3 powerplay. They would be able to execute as Sean Olson scored at the 3:01 mark to tie the game at 1-1.
It once again remained tied for a while until the Bruins reclaimed the lead at the 15:41 mark of the 2nd period. Bryce Platt would fire in his career-high 21st goal past Levesque to make it 2-1 for the Bruins after two periods. Tanner Manz and Turner Ripplinger assisted on Platt goal, which also stands as the 100th junior hockey point in his career.
The Bruins would break the game open in the 3rd period with the team’s leading rookie scorer getting on the board. At the 7:24 mark, Isaiah Thomas sniped his 9th of the season to make it 3-1. Ripplinger and Johnny Witzke assisted on the marker.
About six minutes later at the 13:18 mark, Michael McChesney collected his own rebound and snuck in a shot from a tough angle for his team-leading 31st goal of the season to make it 4-1. It’s a career high in goals for McChesney, who scored 30 goals in 17/18.
Weyburn would respond less than a minute later with Connor Pyne scoring at the 14:04 mark to trim Estevan’s lead to 4-2. The Red Wings would pull their goalie in the final minutes for the extra attacker and it would pay off at the 19:05 with Jordan Kazymyra making it 4-3.
Weyburn would pull the goalie once again looking to complete the comeback, but an attempted shot on goal in the final seconds was blocked by Kade McMillen who passed the puck out of the zone for Thomas, who scored his second of the game and 10th of the season into the empty net to round out the scoring in a 5-3 victory for Estevan.
Grant Boldt (16/19) earned the win in goal for the Bruins, ending the regular season with 15 wins, a 2.60 GAA, and a .908 Sv%. Cody Levesque (35/39) was tagged with the loss for Weyburn.
Estevan was shut out on the powerplay (0/2) while Weyburn went (1/5) on the man advantage.
As mentioned, a season-high 1,836 fans packed Affinity Place on Saturday night, with the Certified Energy Services 50/50 jackpot also finishing at a season-high jackpot of $13,420.
BRUINS WILL FACE HUMBOLDT BRONCOS IN BEST-OF-7 QUARTERFINAL
Though there are four games remaining to be played in the SJHL regular season, the Bruins (31-22-3-2) already know their first-round opponent as the Humboldt Broncos (35-19-3-1) are sealed into the 6th-seed.
As a result of winning the Viterra Division, Estevan (67 points) will finish in the 3rd-seed and have home-ice advantage in the Best-of-7 quarterfinal round despite Humboldt (74 points) finishing with seven more points.
The series will begin with Game 1 & 2 played on Friday, March 15th and Saturday, March 16th at Affinity Place.
Jake Heerspink Fired A Shot On Goal In The 1st Period On Saturday Night. (Photo: Durr Photography)